COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Centreville Public Schools Interim Superintendent Chad Brady answers an interview question during Saturday’s special CPS Board of Education meeting for the second round of superintendent interview questions. The board selected Brady to go into contract negotiations with to become the district’s next superintendent.

Brady named Centreville superintendent

CENTREVILLE — Another interim school superintendent in St. Joseph County will have the “interim” tag removed.

On Saturday, the Centreville Public Schools Board of Education voted to go into contract negotiations with current interim superintendent Chad Brady to become their next superintendent, following a second round of interviews at a special meeting.

Brady has been with the district since 2018, and was previously the principal of Centreville Junior/Senior High School.

Board President Jeff Troyer said it felt good to get through the process, and that the candidate the board selected will do a good job for the district.

“I think Chad wants to be here. I think that’s evident and negotiations shouldn’t be a problem,” Troyer said. “I think Chad possesses and displays the characteristics the board looks for, anybody looks for, in a candidate. We identified what our vision is for the superintendent, and Chad Brady surpasses every single category we did.”

Nottawa Community School Principal/Superintendent Jerome Wolff was also interviewed during Saturday’s special meeting.

Brady will begin his official tenure as superintendent on July 1.

In an interview Monday, Brady said he was excited to be the new superintendent and is looking forward to doing the job.

“I am thrilled, honored and privileged to be part of an amazing staff with teachers and support staff,” Brady said. “I’m looking forward to the work we have in front of us and all that we can do as a community for our kids.”

Board members praised the process of the superintendent search during the meeting, as well as the two finalists who came before them Saturday.

“I think we were very fortunate to have two individuals who are seemingly and wholeheartedly emotionally connected to our district, and truly want to be a part of our district,” Vice President Jackie Bowen said. “I think in today’s time and world, I think it’s such a great opportunity for us to see that, and it’s great for our kids to see people want to be a part of our district and want the best for our district.”

The current interim was asked a number of questions during his second round of interviews. On the issue of learning loss, Brady praised the district’s summer learning program, calling it a “step in the right direction” when it comes to combating the issue, as well as mentioning that a better understanding of NWEA test scores will be key. However, he said it all starts with the relationship between teacher and student and figuring out where kids are mentally.

“Coming back this school year, I constantly reminded staff in this building that this is a transition and it’s ongoing. What our kids need now more than ever is your love and trust. They need to know you’re there to support them, they need the relationship to continue to learn and move forward. It’s when we start to establish those things that we can make up for the gap created through COVID,” Brady said. “It has to start with understanding where our kids are mentally to overcome the hump of COVID, and then we can continue to move forward.”

Later, Brady talked about his priorities for the first 12 months if he was selected. He said the first thing he wanted to do was make sure staffing needs were filled, mentioning recent interviews for a new bus driver and science teacher, and said he believes the district will be fully staffed before the start of the next school year. In addition, Brady said he wanted to make sure summer learning was “fully realized,” completing a restructure and rebuild of the district’s strategic plan, and rolling out plans of where he wants the district to go in the future.

“One thing I’ve learned when I was at Loy Norrix is that the superintendent can’t just think about tomorrow, can’t think about next month or next school year, they have to be thinking about the long-range projection of the district and the things we need to accomplish,” Brady said. “I think all that planning is really important, and in the first 12 months, that’s exactly what we need to do.”

In terms of working with groups that may have different beliefs and opinions, Brady said the key thing was building relationships with people.

“We all have the same desires in the end, no matter what the opinions are, and that’s the betterment of the kids in our district. I truly believe that. Being willing to have tough conversations is important,” Brady said. “When there’s a difference of opinions, it’s about understanding the reasons why and how we can work together despite those differences of opinions to achieve the same outcome for our kids.”

One of the questions submitted by community members asked how he would handle controversial topics nowadays, specifically the topic of “critical race theory.” Brady said the district teaches what the state-approved standards are.

“We teach what the standards are, and that’s the end of the story for me. Until there’s a movement at the state level that includes a unit on critical race theory, there’s no conversation to be had from my perspective in that regard,” Brady said. “We teach to the state-certified, state-approved standards.”

After Brady was nominated to be the superintendent, board members gave glowing reviews of him.

“I think both candidates had a lot of positives, very little drawback on either of them. I don’t think it comes down to any negative of one candidate over the other, but with the district and where it’s at with the interim spot, I think Chad has shown in the two and a half months he’s been here he’s not sitting back, not waiting, and really hitting the ground running,” trustee TJ Reed said. “I think he has a good rapport with the staff, and I look at what’s going to be the least amount of transition and the best move forward with the district. I thought Jerome did a good job, and would make a fine superintendent in another district, or even at this district, but Chad is the right choice moving forward for our district.”

“I appreciate both of them expressed they like Centreville and have ties to Centreville, but I think Chad’s been doing a very great job as interim, and I think that’s a little glimpse of what he would do in the superintendent role,” secretary Margaret Miller said.

“Chad’s gone miles with the interim position, and exceeded my expectations,” trustee Larry Walton said. “I really didn’t know where we’d go, but he’s been transparent with us, is very goal-driven about where he wants the district to go, and I appreciate the fact he’s been open with us. He wants to do what’s right by the kids in this district.”

The vote was unanimous to select Brady. He will begin his official tenure as superintendent on July 1.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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